At least 26 civilians were killed on Monday in a village in northeast Syria in strikes likely conducted by the US-led coalition, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
“The raids struck the village of Al-Khan, which is held by the Islamic State group,” said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.
“But Daesh is only present on the outskirts of the town, which is why all of the deaths were civilians,” Abdel Rahman said, using the Arabic acronym for IS.
The toll included seven children and four women, but is likely to rise as at least 17 people were unaccounted for and bodies were still being pulled out from under the rubble, Abdel Rahman said.
Earlier this year, the coalition’s bombing campaign was described by US Lt Gen Charles Q Brown Jr, the commanding general, as “the most precise in the history of warfare”.
But monitoring groups have accused the coalition of killing hundreds of civilians in both Syria and Iraq, and of failing to properly investigate reports of casualties.
An MEE exclusive last month reported on a Syrian father who has accused the US military of attempting to cover up the deaths of six of his children and the serious injury of two others in a US-led coalition airstrike near the Turkish border in August.
US military spokespeople told MEE that an investigation had concluded that the allegations of civilian casualties as a result of the strike were “unfounded”.
Al-Khan, the location of Monday’s attack, lies near the village of Al-Hol in Syria’s northeast Hasakeh province. Kurdish and Arab rebel groups, backed by the US-led coalition bombing militants in Syria, recaptured Al-Hol from the Islamic State group last month.
The coalition began striking IS’s Syria positions in September 2014, expanding its campaign from neighbouring Iraq.
A spokesman said he had no details yet on whether coalition aircraft had conducted strikes in the area on Monday, but said a “credibility assessment” would be launched to verify claims of civilian deaths.
The news of the airstrike comes after the coalition was blamed on Monday for a bombing raid in the eastern Deir Ezzor province that killed four Syrian soldiers and wounded 13 others.
The US-led coalition, however, has denied it was involved in the attack and a US military official has reportedly said that the country is “certain” that Russia conducted the airstrike. MIDDLE EAST EYE